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Charles H. Richards in Texas Revolution

A New Map of Texas, With The Contiguous American & Mexican States by J. H. Young, 1836

My 3rd great-grandfather was Charles Harrison Richards. He is listed by The Daughters of the Republic of Texas as having been born February 29, 1780 in Blount Springs, Alabama, and died April 4, 1839 in San Augustine, Texas.

When Charles was 32 years old he married the very young Polly Sapp, daughter of John Sapp and Elizabeth King. Polly was born in Georgia and after she and Charles married they must have traveled back to his home state of Alabama since several of their children were born there.

I don’t know when they made their way to the wilderness that was then the Mexican state of Coahuila Texas, but they were there when the sparks of resistance to the tyranny and control that the Mexican usurper, Santa Anna, exerted over the citizens of the country were first fanned. Before that time, the Congress of the Mexican republic, in 1823, “...invited citizens of the U. S. of the North to settle on this frontier, and, as an inducement, offered a liberal donation of land to each family.”

In the Autobiography of Phillip Wade Hampton Richards, Mr. Richards states, “My father’s father was Charles Richards, was raised in Alabama, but came to Texas May 1833; was in the Mexican War, with Sam Houston; was killed by a horse on the streets of old San Augustine in 1838.”

March the 27th 1837

This is to certify that

Charles Richards joined my

company on the 4 of July last

for the term of three months.

William Scurlock, Capt

Thos Rusk

(In 1836 Thomas J. Rusk was serving as secretary of war for Texas.)

William Scurlock was with Colonel J. W. Fannin and his command when the slaughter took place that was called “Fannin’s Massacre” in Goliad. “Of the whole number who were marched out for slaughter on that memorable Sunday, fifty-five only escaped.” Scurlock was one of that number. In Baker’s A Texas Scrapbook of 1875 a letter of Samuel T. Brown, a nephew of Colonel William Ward, first appeared in the Voice of Sumpter (an Alabama newspaper) on November 28, 1839. The letter gave a summary of the various companies and showed the numbers detained, escaped, and killed. The numbers were 35 detained, 55 escaped, and 385 killed.

According to Notes from an Unfinished Study of Fannin and His Men by Harbert Davenport, 1936, Scurlock “made his escape and returned home [San Augustine] to secure a company [of volunteers] and joined the command of Col. Thos. J. Rusk, under whom he served until the 4th October, 1836.” It was this company and during this time that my 3rd great-grandfather joined the fight as indicated in the above document on file at the Texas State Archives in Austin.


Baker, D. W. C. A Texas Scrapbook, Made up of the History, Biography, and Miscellany of Texas and Its People. Reprint. Originally published: New York: A. S. Barnes, 1875. Texas State Historical Association, Austin, Texas, 1991.

Daughters of the Republic of Texas, s.v. “Ancestor Surnames” (accessed March 13, 2009).

TSHA Online, s.v. “Notes from an Unfinished Study of Fannin and His Men” (accessed March 13, 2009).

Richards, Charles. Certification of Service, 1837. Copy. Texas State Archives, Austin, Texas.

Richards, Phillip Wade Hampton. Autobiography of Phillip Wade Hampton Richards.

The David Rumsey Map Collection, s.v. “A New Map of Texas, With The Contiguous American & Mexican States”,-With-The-Contig (accessed March 13, 2009).

1850 U. S. Census, Shelby County, Texas, microfiche. (accessed January 2007).


JoLyn said…
This is a terrific article Judy! I love it when all the information and maps and photos are pulled together in place. This is a treasure trove of information. Great research!
Thanks so much, JoLyn. Sometimes I have to make myself stop with the details, though, and add a little personal human interest.
Janice Tracy said…
Your research and wonderful writing skills have produced an excellent article! I enjoyed it very much.
Janice, thanks so much. This Richards family is the one I want to research when we visit the Dallas Library with you and Vance.
You really brought your ancestor to life with this article. I too love the documentation that goes along with it. You are helping me be better at writing my own articles. Thank you!
Carol, you are too kind. I have enjoyed reading your blog for a long time and you have been instrumental in getting my blog going. Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement and kudos.
carol2010 said…
I have a very old document signed by Charles H Richards, I am not good at describing the document but the date is 1877 (I think) and it states something about postmaster for Marlborough in the county of Middlesex Massachusetts. Anyone have an idea if this is a relative or same person?
Hi, Carol. The main character in my post, my ancestor, Charles Harrison Richards, died in April of 1839; so we know it could not have been his letter (or document) you described.

But he had a son named Charles Harrison who was born about 1832 in Alabama and died in Oct. 1899 in Limestone Co., Texas. He was married to a lady named Emily Wren. I don't have any information on him, so it would be interesting to investigate this further. You can email me at Thanks for reading my post and leaving your comment. I hope we can talk about this further.
Robert W. Richards said…
Charles Harrison Richards is my 3rd great grandfather through Stratford Wade Hampton Richards. Philip Wade Hamptom that you refer to was my Great Grandfather.

Did you know my aunt, Ima Dora Richards Haile? She did a lot of genealogy work back in the 90's and wrote a book called "Charles Harrison Richards Family History".
Have you been able to trace the family to Charles H. Richards' father and mother?

Bob Richards, Abilene, TX

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